Today in our Orca Whale Watching in Bremer Bay was different from the get go!
As we pulled out on our canyon bound journey we noticed a large swirl of birds west of our normal route. We went over to investigate and found three rafts of Albatross on the water’s surface and over fifty Shearwaters either landed or swirling above!! This collection of birds so close to shore was bizzare! Did the orcas run in close to feed under the cover of darkness and these birds followed them? No sign of Orca so we continued on.
Our sister vessel Dhu Force made an early morning pass through the hotspot to film Orca and came up empty handed and with the last few days only supplying us with one orca pod we knew that ‘far far away’ was where we needed to search!
We went west, and a long way west! There they were, 7 blows sighted over a mile away reflected off the almost silk-like surface. It was Nibbles, Razor, Blade and Digby among others! They were slowly pushing further west in two group formations. Each whale rose almost synchronously with just a light puff for each blow.
The calm before the storm. The weather was magnificent. We could see a front moving towards us and as it grew bigger the orca etched closer towards it as if they were welcoming the stormy weather!
The two pods each with a single “coming-of-age” male, were micro-sleeping! The groups came together and the now twelve whales moved as one. We haven’t sighted these individuals for a while now and we are beginning to understand that maybe the hotspot isn’t their only home range during the season!
We were now almost in line with the Stirling Ranges!! At least 35 miles from home now we turned and headed for the hills, literally.
A large Trichodesmium slick also known as “sea sawdust” was present as we moved back up the shelf. This red-tide is a naturally occurring cyanobacteria which produces nutrients for other organisms. However the Orca dislike it as it irritates their skin when they have to surface through it!
Our journey home was also unique as we were able to go in close to the coastline from the west and pass Dillon Bay and the cliffs that lie on the outskirts of Bremer. With seabirds working the bay there must have been small fish or even salmon busting up! Quick stop at Glasse Island to round out the day with two large bulls and plenty of little pups! One Sea Lion must have sensed the incoming storm and had made it ALL the way to the top to find shelter. A good idea, as the rain came in not long after we had returned to the safe harbour waters.
Check out our Augusta whale watching page now for more information about our upcoming tours in Augusta.